Mobile commerce rises but PC still e-commerce king: ACMA

The latest findings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority showed the uptake in mobile commerce is due to the increasing usage of smartphones, the use of internet over mobile phones, and the availability of 3G networks.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Mobile commerce has skyrocketed by 448 percent in Australia since December 2010, according to the latest findings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). 

Mobile commerce has been defined as when the mobile phone is used for banking, to pay bills, or to purchase goods and services online. 

The ACMA research showed there were 3.4 million Australians that used a mobile commerce service in December 2013, up from the 0.62 million that was recorded in December 2010.

The findings showed that transferring funds online was by far the most common transactional mobile commerce activity, undertaken by 77 percent of mobile commerce users during December 2013. This has remained fairly consistent over the years as the results during December 2010 showed that a majority, 69 percent, of Australian transferred funds online then too.

As well as mobile commerce transactions, nearly four million Australians said they used their mobiles for non-transactional activities, including checking account balances, and product research.

The research found people age 25-34 were 33 percent more likely to use mobile commerce services during December 2013 compared to other age groups, which reflects of their higher propensity to undertake activities online. People aged 65 and over were 58 percent were less likely to use mobile commerce.

According to ACMA, a number of key developments have driven the observed growth, including the increased take-up of smartphones, use of the internet over mobile phones, the availability and use of mobile phone banking and shopping applications, and the availability of 3G and increasing rollout of 4G mobile phone networks.

Despite this, PC transactions still lead the way. The level of e-commerce transactions has remained stable over the past three years, with mobile commerce yet to reach the levels of traditional PC-based e-commerce, ACMA said.

For example, during December 2013, the proportion of Australians that banked online via a PC was 27 percentage points higher than the proportion of people using their mobile phones for online banking. Similarly, shopping online via a PC was 24 percentage points higher than the proportion of people using mobiles phones for online shopping.

ACMA attributed technology developments, such as mobile-optomised websites, mobile applications, and QR code readers of enabling Australian businesses to take advantage of the mobile commerce platform to enhance the customer experience.

The research shows that 18 per cent of SMEs connected to the internet had developed mobile-optimised websites as of May 2013. In addition, 59 per cent of mobile phone internet users had downloaded an app, and one in 10 had used a QR code reader at December 2013.

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